Night Eyes [LP; Ehse]

The synth teamsters of the modern-day owe a lot to Mudboy, and what does he get for it? Well, he’s not soundtracking Stranger Things, if that’s what you’re asking. But what has he been up to for the seven years thus-elapsed since his previous LP? If Night Eyes is any indication, he’s still content on leading the synth warriors from the comfort of shadows, foregoing front-page glory for guts and gumption (and CHECK OUT those evil red eyes seared into the LP jacket; combine that with the Freddy claws and… sick). The opening track is a ghostly, yet angelic, stretch of rudimentary synthpeggios that lapses into a cacophony of screams and bitter sweeps of sound, but before I delve into the material itself I want to tell you a little bit about the ‘UGE poster that comes with the LP. To start, Mudboy instructs us to keep our cellphones… ON, because they’ve been commandeered by the composer. Also, we will be expected to set our phones to a “particular moment according to the score.” I’m guessing the point of which he’s speaking is the aforementioned cacophony, as it represents a natural spike in activity from a relatively placid beginning; then again, from the second Side B kicks into fruition, the meter throttles again and the mechanized chunks of programmed throb echo into eternity. Perhaps we should set our alarms to that? In any case, Mudboy has been missed more than he knows. While I’ve heard This is Folk Music imitated to death, there’s simply not much out there in the vein of Impossible Duets or any of his other projects, from that 7-inch on DNT to his inevitable LP on Not Not Fun. To hear him emerge with such force, such dedication to sculpting enormity, is inspiring. When the lonely, delicate synth swirls begin ribboning around each other halfway through the LP’s flip it’s difficult not to imagine heaven, even if you know the artist responsible for it can also conjure hell. Night Eyes is a cellar door attached to the yin-yang sensibilities of a reluctant genius’ brain, earnest at times and intimidatingly forthright at others.


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